The Warning Letter tool is utilized in cases where there are serious behavioral concerns. It serves to inform the participant of AFS guidelines and expectations. It is mainly used in two different kinds of situations: as the final support tool in an ongoing support process that involved a Plan for Success and/or Support Agreement, or to address an incident or pattern of behavior that jeopardizes the sustainability of the student’s program. In either situation, the Warning Letter calls attention to the problematic behavior and describes the expectations for the participant moving forward.
The decision to utilize a Warning Letter is made by Participant Support Staff in consultation with the Participant Support Manager and the local volunteers directly involved in supporting the student. As a best practice, the Participant Support Staff should share a draft of the Letter with volunteers to make sure it is accurate and comprehensive. Participant Support Staff may also share the draft with the sending partner to gain their feedback before issuing the final version to the student, though this is not always the case.
The final version of the Warning Letter is issued by the Participant Support Staff directly to the student. Volunteers should not write or issue any Warning Letter, it must come from staff. If a volunteer believes a situation warrants a Warning Letter, they should discuss it with the Participant Support Specialist.
The Warning Letter must be signed by the student and returned to staff by a designated date. Once signed and returned, the Letter is shared with the sending partner and natural parents. Unwillingness to sign the Warning Letter, or failure to follow the guidance and/or expectations described in the Warning Letter usually result in an Early Return.
Situations where Participant Support Staff may issue a Warning Letter include:
- Ongoing behavioral issues that have not been successfully addressed with a Plan for Success or Support Agreement
- Ongoing non-compliance with academic expectations (see Academic Commitment)
- Vaping or smoking
- Associating with people who use illegal drugs
- Association with alcohol
- Consuming alcohol (See Alcohol Consumption)
- Inappropriate online behavior and use of social networks
- Other risky behavior or rule infractions that do not rise to the level of an immediate Early Return (See Infractions of the 3 AFS Rules)